A few years ago, a mom in a small Mississippi town was chastised by neighbors and the press for teaching her 10-year-old son to walk to soccer practice by himself. The first time he set out on the route, which was less than a mile, a cop picked him up, scolded him that it wasn’t safe, and warned his mother that they’d received “hundreds” of calls to 911 about the boy out by himself, and she could be prosecuted for “child endangerment.”
That day marked a turning point for Lori LeVar Pierce.
Instead of cowering in shame, she called the chief of police and asked if the town really was so dangerous a kid couldn’t walk to soccer. The chief said it was very safe and apologized for the cop’s actions.
But the local newspaper believed its own version of reality, and saw foul play around every corner. They wrote, “The fact remains that things are different now. The days of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry and Leave It to Beaver are gone.”
Lori set out to prove such fears were unnecessary. She even lobbied for — and won — an ordinance that now provides sidewalks anytime road or neighborhood construction is undertaken.
This week, the newspaper’s editorial board finally came around, saying, “We should feel safe in our own neighborhoods.”
They called for more discretion regarding calls to 911: “It seems we’ve all gotten paranoid.” They suggested that just because you see teens loitering on the corner, or a 10-year-old out walking alone, doesn’t mean trouble is brewing.
(READ the full story in FreeRangeKids)